Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Henry Domo- Spiff, a former council chairman in old Rivers State is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He speaks on the chances of the PDP presidential candidate and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar in this Saturday’s election.
Between 1999 and 2015, PDP ruled this country but lost power in 2015, what do you think was responsible for the defeat?
The loss of power by PDP was due to so many reasons. If you look at the 2015 elections, one there was a lot of gang-up and there was no way for PDP not to have lost. The leadership was also careless. Three, the whole people in the country were looking for change whether a good or bad one. I was one of those that tried to warn Nigerians that change can be good or bad. We have seen it now and it is glaring that the change we are looking for, God gave it to us, it is bad change. From my own view, Nigeria has gone 10 years backward. We need to be serious because the change we advocated for has made us poorer; made our economy so bad; infrastructure so bad, even the corruption is now worse.
Do you nurse any fear about the 2019 elections?
The 2019 election should be tagged ‘the People’s Election’ and I call on all Nigerians to get their PVC and be ready to vote. Nigerians should arise and prove to the world that we are capable of conducting a free and fair election. Nigerians should not allow any person or group of persons to massively falsify election results. Nigerians and only Nigerians can stop INEC, security personnel or even politicians from rigging and manipulating election result sheets, and only they can ensure our votes must count.
Nigerians should remember how the people of Turkey foiled a military coup with bare hands and faced Armoured Tanks and guns. If the people of Turkey can do that I know we can do better. This is where our youths can show that they are not lazy and are prepared to take over leadership. No form of intimidation or force should stop or counter our votes.
What would an Atiku presidency offer Nigerians?
The candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku from my own point of view is the only one that can lead Nigeria to the promised land if voted into office. I stand by this opinion because he is a well tested democrat. He has always conceded to other candidates when ask to. He did that during Abiola/Kingibe election in 1993. He was in the forefront of bringing Obasanjo to politics. Even when he knew he had the instruments to stop Obasanjo’s second term, he conceded again. He has a forgiving heart. Look at his acceptance speech with all the encomium and gratitude he shower on Obasanjo knowing how Obasanjo almost destroyed his political career. Even those that did not vote for him he praised and thanked them. He is a nationalist and a not tribalistic person even in marriage. His first wife Titilayo is from Osun State (an Ilesha born Roman Catholic) a Yoruba and remains a staunch Christian till date. He is also married to an Igbo lady, Jennifer now Jamila. So his children are Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo, what a true Nigerian. He is not a religious bigot or fanatic. He is an Industrialist. How many of our rich men have invested in the Nigerian economy like Atiku, if we can count them I am sure Atiku will be close to the top. Atiku will fight genuine corruption. Some uninformed people are insinuating that Atiku is corrupt. Let me ask, has Atiku being tried by any court, Panel of Inquiry or Judiciary commission and was found wanting? Atiku is an employer of labour. Atiku will groom our youths so that they will be ready to take over leadership. Look at the university he set up, I believe that it is classed among the best. Atiku will remove Nigeria from among the largest poorest people of the world. With Atiku in power, he will drive all industrious Nigerians in the Diaspora to come and invest and build our country. He has promised to revive our economy, he believe in restructuring, he will also solve our security problem. Nigeria will grow to be a vibrant nation under Atiku.
Atiku has learnt a lot. He was Vice President to Obasanjo for eight years. In fact in Obasanjo’s second term, many of Atiku’s associates told him to run against his boss and reports had it that Obasanjo had to beg him. It was third term that caused problem between them. Obasanjo wanted to indict him for PTDF but let Obasanjo publish that report. Let him publish the report of PTF against Buhari. He had earlier exonerated Buhari but we know what happened. I was a consultant engineer to PTF. We were busy, working very straight not knowing people were making money. If Buhari could not manage PTF well how do you think he can manage Nigeria? Atiku’s presidency offers hope. He has tried business, he succeeded. Atiku is the man that can take us to the promise land. I am supporting him and if in two years he does not perform, I’ll speak out against him. We want this country to grow.